By Ron Mitchell and Claire Novak
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority has initiated an investigation after a search of the Keeneland barn of trainer Patrick Biancone.
John Veitch, chief steward for the KHRA, would not comment June 26 on the nature of the investigation or whether the search yielded anything illegal or that violates state racing regulations, and could not reveal any specifics before Biancone had been granted a hearing. Veitch said the search was conducted by KHRA personnel June 22, but also would not say what led to the search.
Biancone also declined comment.
June 29, Veitch confirmed that the vehicle of Biancone's practicing veterinarian, Rod Stewart, had been searched as well.
Rogers Beasley, Keeneland’s director of racing, said Biancone has between 75-80 horses stabled at the Lexington track. He said the track will not take any action in regard to the matter until the KHRA has completed its investigation. Beasley said Keeneland’s security personnel accompanied KHRA personnel to Biancone’s barn for the search at the request of the KHRA.
Through June 25, Biancone was the seventh-leading trainer at the Churchill Downs spring meet with 11 wins from 50 starters and $775,863 in purses earned by his runners.
A third-generation horseman, 55-year-old Biancone was born in France and worked in the U.S. as an assistant to LeRoy Jolley in 1973-74 before returning to his native country to open a stable. He saddled his first winner in May 1975.
Among his top European runners were All Along and Sagace, the respective winners of the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) in 1983 and 1984. After spending most of the 1990s training in Hong Kong, Biancone left that country in 1999 after his license was suspended for the remainder of the season as a result of positive drug tests on two horses under his care. He then served as an adviser to owner-breeder Frank Stronach before opening a stable at Santa Anita Park in 2000.
Among the top horses trained by Biancone have been grade I stakes winners Whywhywhy, Zavata, Mayakovsky, Lion Heart, Magestretti, and Sense of Style, all owned by Michael Tabor.